Antibiotic-resistant bacteria cross oceans hidden in cargo ships



Secret passengers spread disease

Secret passengers spread disease

Description:Islandstock / Alamy Stock Photo

Cargo ships are spreading antibiotic-resistant bacteria around the world by carrying dangerous pathogens in their ballast tanks and expelling them near harbours.

When researchers analysed the tanks of nine cargo ships originating from various countries, they discovered 44 species of potentially harmful bacteria in the sediment that accumulates within the tanks. DNA sequencing revealed ten antibiotic resistance genes within the samples. These genes can make bacteria resistant to medical interventions, meaning humans are more likely to die from them.

In 2017, more than 50,000 commercial ships …



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